- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2017

One of the actors from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” recently told British officials that a lack of diversity on television may push Muslim teens to join terrorist groups.

Riz Ahmed, who played pilot Bodhi Rook in the latest installment of the “Star Wars” franchise, which generated over $1 billion in global ticket sales, said Thursday during U.K. broadcaster Channel 4’s annual diversity lecture in Parliament that government action was an appropriate remedy to the situation.

“If we fail to represent, we are in danger of losing people to extremism,” Ahmed said, The Guardian reported Thursday. “In the mind of the [Islamic State] recruit, he’s the next James Bond right?

“Have you seen some of those ISIS propaganda videos, they are cut like action movies,” he said, using an acronym to refer the Islamic State, also known as ISIL. “Where is the counter-narrative? Where are we telling these kids they can be heroes in our stories, that they are valued?”

The actor, who previously starred HBO’s “The Night Of” and “Girls,” said taxpayer funds that are funneled to broadcasters should be tied to diversity goals, The Guardian reported.

“If we don’t step up and tell a representative story … we are going to start losing British teenagers to the story that the next chapter in their lives is written with ISIS in Syria,” he said.

Mr. Ahmed lamented that it often takes American remakes of British shows before he is offered work.

“We end up going to America to find work,” he said. “I meet with producers and directors here and they say, ‘we don’t have anything for you, all our stories are set in Cornwall in the 1600s.’”

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